Words to Live By

The other day, David Brooks raised a question in his Op-Ed column. He asked people to think about any words of wisdom which provide a significant moral compass in their lives. I didn’t have to think. The words just popped into my consciousness. I heard them for the first time when I was about seven years old. These are words which, over the years, I doubted, ridiculed, or ignored on occasion, especially during my university years. But, these words kept coming back, hounding me – almost finding me, in spite of myself. They are words from the old Baltimore Catechism. “Why did God make me? God made to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this world so that I can be happy with Him in the next world.” Millions of children learned these words at least until the mid 1960’s. Some immediately forgot them; some rejected them forever; others remembered the words, but forgot their meaning. I’m one of the lucky ones. Those words, along with “Love one another as I have loved you,” provide me with a powerful guide when making difficult moral decisions. The fact that these words keep finding me make me truly grateful and rather humble.

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